Acoustic characteristics of the speech of young cochlear implant users: A comparison with normal-hearing age-mates

Rosalie M. Uchanski, Ann E. Geers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to compare select acoustic characteristics of the speech of deaf children who use cochlear implants (young cochlear implant users) with those of children with normal hearing. A secondary objective of this study was to examine the effect, if any, of the deaf child's education (oral versus total communication) on the similarity of these acoustic characteristics to those of normal-hearing age-mates. Design: Speech was recorded from 181 young cochlear implant users and from 24 children with normal hearing. All speech was produced by imitation, and consisted of complete sentences. Acoustic measures included voice onset time (/t/, /d/), second formant frequency (/i/, /inverted c sign/), spectral moments (mean, skew and kurtosis of /s/ and /∫/), a nasal manner metric, and durations (of vowels, words, and sentences). Results and Discussion: A large percentage (46 to 97%) of the young cochlear implant users produced acoustic characteristics with values within the range found for children with normal hearing. Exceptions were sentence duration and vowel duration in sentence-initial words, for which only 23 and 25%, respectively, of the cochlear implant users had values within the normal range. Additionally, for most of the acoustic measures, significantly more cochlear implant users from oral than from total communication settings had values within the normal range. Conclusions: Compared with deaf children with hearing aids (from previous studies by others), deaf children who use cochlear implants have improved speech production skills, as reflected in the acoustic measures of this study. Placement in an oral communication educational setting is also associated with more speech production improvement than placement in a total communication setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90S-105S
JournalEar and hearing
Volume24
Issue number1 SUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

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